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Simple hack for a quiet morning

I usually see big, wacky, catchy projects on blogs like these.  Well I’m here to remind you that small, commonplace, everyday hacks are just as important, especially during times of stress. Making or modifying something to make your life easier can be every bit as rewarding as making a giant installation or rolling art project.

 

Our cat gets a quarter-cup of food every morning.  I have a half-cup scoop reclaimed from a box of protein powder.

You’ve heard the joke before, about a partially filled glass? The optimist says it’s half full, the pessimist says it’s half empty, the engineer says it’s twice as big as it needs to be.

I’m an engineer.

 

Here we see a perfectly unassuming 90cc scoop. 

Scoop before alteration

Scoop before alteration

I know it’s 90cc’s because it says so.

90cc

90cc

We need a 45cc scoop. We do not have a 45cc scoop. They sell these, as it’s basically a ¼ cup, but I am disinclined to spend money, plus certain world events are extending shipping times and making a run to the store problematic.

 

Modification time!

 

I found an appropriate measuring device, in this case a tablespoon (yes my tablespoons have metric on them, however approximate). 

Tablespoon 15ml

Tablespoon 15ml

I measured 3 tablespoons of water, or about 45cc (cc and ml are basically the same thing), and traced the water level to give me the desired height of the cup.

Water line marked

Water line marked

To make sure the handle didn’t get too floppy, I also drew in these supports on the side.

Lines for handle support

Lines for handle support

Then it was just a matter of using a pair of scissors to trim off the excess.  It would have been way better to use a smaller pair of craft shears, but big ol’ kitchen shears is what I had handy, so that’s what I used.

Snip snip

Snip snip

If you start off cutting a notch out, you can get the big scissors parallel to the cut.

Notching

Notch cutting

Make sure to cut above the line! That is, leave a little extra so you can finish it off nice.  You can always take off a bit more, but adding it back on is a whole ‘nother level of complication you don’t need.

Cut above the line

Cut above the line

Leave enough extra for finishing

Leave enough extra for finishing

With the shape roughed out, grab a piece of sandpaper, or a nail file, or, in my case, an actual general purpose file. It’s what I had lying around.

hand file

Hand file

Use the scissors to trim down any big protrusions or bumps, then use the file/sandpaper to bring it down to the final shape. If you have a finer grit, you can use it to give a nicer finish, but I just kinda burnished it with the handle a bit. Good enough to scoop cat food with! (Warning: filing plastic will make a mess, and that mess will include micro-plastics to one degree or another. If that’s something that bothers you, do this outside, or over a trashcan. Wear whatever PPE you feel you need, assuming you haven’t already donated it all to your local hospital. I did it on the back stairs with a strong breeze blowing so I didn’t breathe in any of the dust.)

Finished 45cc scoop

Finished 45cc scoop

Tada! A 45cc (ish) scoop! No more guessing on the cat food, just one scoop and good! 

 

Took longer to write this post than it did to make the thing, but I felt it was important to remind you, making is about the little things too.

 

Stay sane in there people!

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